Getting an early start on your retirement savings may end up being one of the best financial moves you can make for yourself and your family. Thanks to the power of compound interest, you have the opportunity to make your money work for you and grow exponentially in many cases on a tax-deferred basis.
Think of interest as a fee paid for using borrowed money. The original amount of money in your account (without added interest) is known as the principal. Compound interest is beneficial because it’s calculated based on the principal plus the interest, resulting in greater interest accrual over the life of the investment.
The benefits of saving early and often
Let’s look at the investing choices of two hypothetical investors, Amy and John.
Amy started investing at age 25. She invests $3,600 per year for 15 years at an 8-percent interest rate and then stops. At age 40 her account has grown to $104,500. By age 70 her investment has grown to $1,050,000.
John didn’t start investing until he was 40. He invests $3,600 per year for 30 years at an 8-percent interest rate. At age 40 he has $0 in his account. At age 70 his account has grown to $450,000
Clearly this is for illustrative purposes only. The figures above do not represent the performance of any specific investment and assumes no withdrawals, expenses and tax consequences.
By now you're probably saying, “Okay, I get it. Saving earlier is better than later.” While this is a key point (and one you’ve probably heard before), many people don’t realize just how important it is until they fall into financial trouble. After all, many things can get in the way of retirement saving besides procrastination, such as paying off a mortgage, car loans, sending kids to college, and unexpected injuries or illnesses. The best way to be prepared is to kick off a pattern of saving and take advantage of compound interest as early as you can.
Although retirement may be the furthest thing from your mind at this point, recognizing how costly it can be may help you stick to a savings plan. Here’s an overview of some of the expenses that may come into play:
Income taxes. When you begin withdrawing funds from retirement accounts, you may lose more of your financial “nest egg” than you thought possible to income taxes.
Everyday expenses. Groceries, home maintenance and insurance, utilities, and other basic living expenses can eventually start to chip away at your savings.
Travel and hobbies. Many retirees want to travel and take up new hobbies (after all, this is what retirement should be about). Unfortunately, such dreams may not happen if you haven’t saved enough to cover the more crucial expenses highlighted above.
Ready to start saving big?
Clearly, getting an early start on your retirement savings (and sustaining that habit over time) can greatly improve your future financial stability. To see how much your money could grow, schedule a free consultation with us here.